Chumphon (ชุมพร) is a city at the Central Gulf Coast of Southern Thailand. It is the provincial capital of Chumphon Province. Like Surat Thani, most people only stay here in transit going between Bangkok and the southern regions, including the islands inside the Gulf of Thailand.
Bird's Nest Collectors' Bungalows perched atop Ko Ngam Noi
Chumphon Province is located in the uppermost part of Southern Thailand. It is known as the gateway to the southern region. Chumphon has been able to maintain its natural beauty largely untouched by tourism and unspoiled by time. Chumphon is an elongated province with 220 km (137 mi) of coastline offering many fine-sand beaches, like Thung Wua Laen and attractive offshore islands. There are plenty of opportunities for sightseeing, walking tours, sunbathing, swimming,canoeing, cave exploring, night squid fishing, fishing, yachting, paragliding, diving and snorkelling.
The public bus service operates from two terminals. The main one is some 10 km out of town, and buses from Bangkok and most other places will stop there.
The other terminal is located in town, and buses go to and from Hat Yai/Phuket/Ranong only. In both directions they stop at the distant terminal both coming and going.
The railway station is in the centre of town.
Various ferry companies operate ferries to, or within reach of Chumphon, and/or a bus service into the centre of town. For those in the gulf islands wishing to return to Bangkok, Chumphon is more direct than returning via Surat Thani.
Nok Air  and Solar Air  operate daily flights between Bangkok (Don Mueang, DMK) and Chumphon airport (CJM).
There are many smaller roads with little traffic north and south of Chumphon. Chumphon has a modern bicycle shop where most parts and repairs can be made. There is water and healthy food within reasonable distances all over Thailand.
From Bangkok, take either Phutthamonthon-Nakhon Pathom-Phetchaburi route or Thonburi-Pak Tho route (Hwy 35) then turn onto Hwy 4 (Phetkasem) at Amphoe Pak Tho, passing through Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan Provinces before arriving at Pathom Phon intersection. Take the left turn to go into Mueang Chumphon via Hwy 4001 for another 8 km.
The Transport Co.Ltd. provides air conditioned buses from Bangkok’s Southern Bus Terminal, Borom Ratchonni Rd to Chumphon daily. For detailed information, call Tel. 0 2435 5605, 0 2435 1199. For Chumphon’s Bus Terminal, Tha Taphao Rd, contact Tel. 0 7750 2725, 0 7751 1099 or at 
Patcharapon Tour no longer runs bus service between Chumphon to Bangkok.
To get to and from these four bus terminals:
a) The distant one: Several kilometres out of town in the middle of nowhere! This is the Southern Bus Terminal. Buses from Chokeanan Tour and Patchraporn Tour stop off in here, 16 km from Chumphon city, south along Hwy 41.
To get into town from here, wait for a silver coloured minibus to turn up (ask at the bus station), and you will be taken into town for 50 baht, and dropped off at a place you request (as at June 2012).
You could also hire a taxi or, the cheapest option: turn left from Saladaeng Rd onto Prachauthit Rd and walk about 300 m. On the right is a 7-11 and on the left is the in-town bus station. Continue another 200 m to the intersection of Pinijkadee Rd on the right and walk along this for about 100 m. On the other side of the road are white songthaews which go regularly and stop at the bus station. Cost: 50 baht.
b) The bus terminal in-town: Walk along Saladaeng Rd, away from the railway station road, with the Fame Guest house on your left, for about 300 m. Turn left into Prachauthid Rd and walk some 300 m and you will see a 7-11 on your right and a street opposite. On this street, which curves sharply left, there is a Yamaha dealer near the corner, and the bus terminal is immediately next to this.
c) The minibus terminal: This is on Krum Liang Rd (the cheap eats road, at the left end of which is the railway station). Turn right onto it off Saladeng Rd and walk about five minutes, looking up to your right. You will eventually see up an alley a series of minibuses which go regularly to Surat Thani and Hua Hin (every 45 minutes, these stop at Prachuat first). Allow 4 hours to get to Hua Hin as you have to change in Prachuap. Fares to Prachuap, 170 baht, and then on to Hua Hin, another 90 baht as at June 2012.
The State Railway of Thailand provides daily rapid and express train services departing from Bangkok’s Hualamphong Railway Station. Further information, call Tel. 1690, 0 2220 4334, 0 2220 4444 or Chumphon Railway Station at Tel 0 7751 1103. For the Thonburi Railway Station (Bangkok Noi), there are ordinary and rapid trains leaving for Chumphon daily. For further information, call tel 0 2411 3102, 0 2621 8701 Ext. 8285106 or http://www.railway.co.th.
If coming from Hua Hin: the fare for the basic non-air conditioned train will cost 49 baht and take about 5 hours. An air conditioned two-carriage train (423 baht) leaves a little earlier and is much quicker (approximately 3 hours) but must be booked in advance. Train leaves around 11:30 (there are others though).
Local public buses (Route: Chumphon – Sawi – Lang Suan) park in front of the Chumphon market, Tha Taphao Rd from 06:00-18:00.
Motorbike taxi at railway station
Taxis are available at the taxi stand which is opposite the Chumphon Bus Terminal, the in-town terminal. From here buses go to Ranong, then Phuket (08:00, 10:00, 11:15). Pay on the bus. To Ranong is 2.5 hours, and Phuket, 7 hours (although the bus is usually an hour late arriving!) The bus goes first to the distant (10 km out-of-town) terminal.
For the terminal some 10 km out, you will find yourself in the middle of nowhere! See above on how to get to and from.
There are local songthaews but you need local knowledge to know where they are going. White and maybe red ones appear to go at some point to the distant bus terminal (see earlier).
To orient yourself within the town:
The railway station is located on Krum Liang Rd. If arriving via train, leave via the ticket office onto this road and walk past the three old steam locomotives mounted in the nature strip. 200 m on is the intersection with Saladaeng Rd. Directly ahead on this same road is where the cheap eats are. Turn right onto Saladaeng. This appears to be the main hotel strip. You will soon pass the Fame Guesthouse on your left, followed by Sri Chumpon (right), Suriwong (right), and Paradorn (left some 100 m along Soi 4).
Thung Wua Laen - White sand beach in north of Chumphon, only 15km from the city. Thung Wua Laen will take advantage from its location with fresh air, great weather, water and plentful forest. A lot of great activities like diving, snorkeling, kayaking, kite surfing, beach sports, visit temples… or simply be quite and enjoy the moment.
Ao Thung Makham (อ่าวทุ่งมะขาม) - These bays are divided into outer Ao Thung Makham and inner Ao Thung Makham. The bays look like a line of 2 semicircles. Roughly in the middle lies a peninsula where rocks, large and small, are scattered surround in mysterious fashion. This peninsula serves divides the bays. On the north side lies inner Ao Thung Makham, with a white sand beach that stretches for 1 km bordered by coconut trees. The distances of the inner and outer Ao Thung Makham from Chumphon city centre are 27 km and 31 km respectively, using the same highways as going to Hat Sai Ri with the directions shown along the way.
Hat Sai Ri (หาดทรายรี) - About 20 km along Hwy 4119 and 4098 with regular bus services from the town centre (take a songthaew from the square by the city pillar shrine). This long smooth white sand beach is shaded by majestic pine trees and affords some spectacular views of nearby islands. Colourful boats lie berthed by the beach, which is lined with restaurants selling fresh seafood. A monument commemorating the late Admiral Prince of Chumphon is located nearby, complete with a well-preserved WWII warship. A hillside temple at the site offers a panoramic view of the entire area.
Khao Chao Mueang (เขาเจ้าเมือง). About 2.4 km from Hat Sai Ri is Khao Chao Mueang, the district’s highest observation point. Its panoramic views of the coast and far out into the distant archipelago are rivaled only by the peace and tranquility offered by the secluded beach located at the base of the mountain.
Khao Phang Forest Park (วนอุทยานเขาพาง). About 12 km south of town, about km493 on Hwy 4. Khao Phang Forest Park is one of the province’s newest attractions. Within the national park, there are a great variety of tropical trees, making the park a shady and restful sojourn for nature lovers and a must for students of forestry. A hill, covering an area of about one square kilometer, is located behind the park providing a commanding view of the entire area.
Mo Ku Chumphon National Park (National Park Visitors Centre), towards Hat Sai Ri (take local bus near PO or see local travel agent). Take the wooden bus to the fairly new and surprisingly modern visitors centre. Walk the boardwalks through the mangrove forests and over creeks. Ask at centre for other walks available. The actual national park area of Chumphon Province is huge and takes in islands, reefs, beaches, jungle, mountain, creeks, ocean and mangroves. You can stay overnight here--there's a camping area, and bungalows at the Pong Pang Viewpoint go for 600 baht per night, and accommodate 2 persons—add 100 baht for each extra person. Dorm beds with no bedding for 50 baht. There are also two restaurants. A good place to visit to make the best of your stay in Chumphon.entry: 200 baht.
The National Museum of Chumphon (พิพิธภัณฑสถานแห่งชาติชุมพร), +66 77 504 105/4246, . Any trip to Chumphon should start at the national museum. Established in 1995 at Khao Samkaew, the museum provides a provincial overview, ranging from prehistory through to the present. Even for those who are not overly interested in history, the museum’s attractive displays and media resources will fascinate and inform. The museum is divided into ground floor and the upper floor, and is open to the public from Wednesday to Sunday, 09:00–16:00.
Prince of Chumphon Shrine (ศาลเจ้าพ่อกรมหลวงชุมพร), Moo 7 Tambon Hat Sai Ri. It is 20 km from Chumphon city centre, along Hwys 4119 and 4098. This is a sacred place for the people of Chumphon and nearby provinces. At the shrine stands the monument of Admiral Phra Borommawong Thoe Kromluang Chumphon Khet Udomsak. The shrine is on the north side of Hat Sai Ri facing towards the sea. There is a museum with exhibits of the admiral. A large torpedo boat named the Royal Chumphon is also here. It is 68 m long and 6.55 m wide. This ship was decommissioned on 26 November 1975. The Royal Thai Navy turned over the ship to Chumphon Province in 1979. After that it was placed near this monument in commemoration of the admiral.
Wat Chao Fa Sala Loi (วัดเจ้าฟ้าศาลาลอย). About 8 km from town on the Chumphon–Ao Thung Wua Laen road. To get there, travel along an asphalt road for 6 km and continue the journey along a brick road for another 2 km. At this temple lived Luang Pho Song Chanthasaro, a famous religious teacher who passed away at the age of nearly 100 years. His body remains undecayed. This monk is revered by the people of Chumphon and nearby provinces.
Activities In and Around Chumphon. Self-made sightseeing tours by local bus, train or motorbike. Snorkelling off local unspoiled islands, rafting and jungle trekking, night squid fishing, canoeing, fishing,kite surfing, fire fly watching, shooting range, sports at stadium, walks, visit temple caves, lakes, paddle boats, beaches, caves, golf, massage, and festivals.
Morning Market, Pracha Uthit Rd to Poramin Manka Rd. Bustling early morning market, also has curry stalls and local prices are usually asked. There are often light trucks outside on Pracha Uthit Rd piled high with seasonal fruits such as pineapple, rambutan, and durian.
Night market, Krom Luang Rd (walk straight out from rail station, past the vintage rail locomotives, and cross the intersection). Locals flock here in the evening to show off their pet dogs in the front basket of their motorcycles, to eat, and to collect takeaways. Massive selection of foods to choose from in a compact area. More expensive than the other markets but also more fun. Stalls with seasonal durian (whole or ready-to-eat) are on the right-hand side furthest from the rail station.
Papa's Night Club, (opposite the train station on right corner). Starts 21:30, does not really get going until about 23:00. Closes 01:30. Good bands, DJ,and dancers. No cover charge. Take your own spirits, 200 baht corkage fee plus purchase of mixers and ice buckets.
Farang Bar, 69/36 Thatapao Rd (ask someone. Chumphon is small.), ☎ +66 77 501 003. Farang Bar is a basic guest house with rooms with shared bathroom and free Wi-Fi. The bar and restaurant gets a steady stream of local expats as well as plenty of tourists on their way to the islands or other parts of Thailand.Large bottle of Chang beer, 80 baht. Amazing cocktails Good for Western food. They make good shakes. Expats come here for comfort food. The staff speak a fair amount of English. The offerings include 50 baht 330 ml beers, excellent Western and Thai food. Ivor (the farang) can also provide advice regarding Ko Tao and arrange bookings for you if needed (i.e., he calls them and reserves. He does not sell tickets, unless you want him to). Very handy in high season.150-200 baht.
Armonia Village Resort and Spa, 85 Moo 5, Nachaang, ☎ +66 77 622899, . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. Sixteen kilometres from Chumphon on Thung Wua Laen Beach. Eighteen guest rooms.
Fame Guest House, 188/20-21 Saladang Rd (front of Saladang Soi 6, 200 m from Chumphon train station), ☎ +66 77 571 077, . checkout: 11:00. Clean 10-room fan-only guest house. Here you can book transfers to Ko Tao (600 baht) and anywhere else in the south of Thailand. Has a restaurant and bar with Thai and Euro food and fresh bread every day. Prices totally reasonable: fried chicken with ginger and fried mixed vegetables at 70 baht each, seafood 80 baht. Large bottle of Chang beer, 100 baht. Also a comprehensive Western menu. Internet. Car and motorbike rental. Super-friendly staff.Three basic rooms: 1 bed, shared outside bathroom, 150 baht. One double room, outside bathroom, 200 baht. Six double rooms with bathroom and hot shower, 300 baht..
Paradorn Hotel, Soi 4, Saladaeng Rd. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. This hotel is air conditioned. Breakfast (Western if you are Western, and Thai if you are Thai) is included in the price and is good. Rooms are good and clean, there is a lift, and staff speak some English. Close to both the railway station (some 400 m) and the in-town bus station (similar distance).550 baht.
Salsa Hostel (ซัลซ่าโฮสเทลชุมพร), 25/42 Krommaluang Rd, ☎ +66 77 505 005, . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. Hotel standards at hostel prices. Friendly staff are willing to assist guests get ferry tickets, provide information and so on. Free tours are organised occasionally. The hostel offers also a day pass allowing transients to spend a few hours in the hostel while waiting for trains or ferries. The hostel also offers an all-you-can-eat breakfast which includes bread, fresh milk, butter, cornflakes, marmalade, tea & coffee. Eggs, juice, etc., served at extra charge. Breakfast is also available for non-guests for 60 baht. Free Wi-Fi throughout.250 baht. (10.500966949052453,99.18037533760071)
Santavee New Rest House, 4 Thatapao Rd, next to Suda (second entrance: Saladaeng Soi 3 - The Lane Bangkok Bank), ☎ +66 77 502 147. Run by a very friendly and welcoming family. Clean rooms, lovely garden, bicycle, and motorbike hire, helpful with local directions.Spacious fan room 250 baht, other rooms cheaper.
Suda's Guesthouse, 8 Thatapao Rd, ☎ +66 77 504 366. Friendly owners, but might try to sell you something.Twin room with fan 250 baht, with A/C 350 baht.
Suriya Hotel, Salandaeng Rd. checkout: 12:00. Cheap hotel. Rooms are big and nice, little dusty. Asian toilet. Get an free bottle of water when check in.190 baht for an single fan room with double bed. 280 baht for a twin room (fan).
Ko Samet (เกาะเสม็ด) - One of a group of islands belonging to Chumphon’s National Marine Park. Not to be confused with its better known namesake off the coast from Rayong. This island can be reached from boats departing from Moo 1, Pak Nam, about 8 km from Chumphon. To get there, first take the bus to Pak Nam along Hwy 4119 (Chumphon-Pak Nam), about 17 km. Then take a boat from the shore for 30 minutes to get there.
Ko Tao - Well-known as the best diving site in the Gulf of Thailand. Its turquoise water is crystalline. Coconut plantations cover much of the landscape and many beaches are easily accessible by paved road.
There are several transportation options to Ko Tao from Chumphon:
Tha Yang Pier - Boats depart from Tha Yang Pier which is 7 km from town and can be reached by taxi. The ride takes 20 minutes. Detailed information for the boat arrival and departure can be obtained by telephoning +66 77 553 0524.
Ko Charoen Car Ferry and Talaysab Car Ferry offer transfer from Chumphon to Ko Tao in bunk bed with air-con. Ko Charoen leaves Tha Yang Pier for Ko Tao every M, W, F at 23:00 and arrives in Ko Tao at 05:30, while Talaysab Ferry leaves every Tu, Th, Sa at 23:00 and arrives in Ko Tao at 05:30. A ticket costs 300 baht. Tourists can get tickets including transfer from town to the pier from the travel agencies in town for the price of 350 baht. There is no car ferry service on Sunday but a modified fishing boat on which the tourists get the mattress with fan.
Songserm Rung Rueang Co., Ltd. - Boat leaves from Mattapon Pier daily at 07:00 and arrives Ko Tao at 09:30. From Ko Tao, the departure time for Chumphon is 14:30 and arrival is at 17:30. For further information, contact tel. +66 22 807 897 or 77 456 274.
Lom Prayah Catamaran Co., Ltd. - Boat leaves from Ao Thung Makham Noi Pier at 07:00 and 13:00 and arrives Ko Tao at 08:45 and 14:45 respectively. From Ko Tao, the boat departs for Ao Thung Makham Noi Pier at 10:15 and 14:45, arriving at 11:45 and 16:15 respectively.